Making Hummos bi Tahini in School

Hummos is the word for chick peas in Arabic. Hummos bi Tahini means chick peas with tahini. Tahini is sesame seeds ground up into a paste; it is available at Middle Eastern food stores and at many supermarkets. Be sure to mix tahini well before adding, as the solids in it tend to settle to the bottom of the jar if it is not used often.

What you will need:


one can opener

one large bowl

one large spoon

one rubber spatula

¼ cup measure

½ teaspoon measure

¼ teaspoon measure

knife to cut lemon in half

lemon juicer

3 sandwich size zipper-locking plastic bags

one shallow dish or smaller bowl in which to serve the Hummos


one can (15.5 ozs.) chick peas

¼ cup water

one medium size lemon (about ¼ cup juice)

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ cup tahini

paprika for garnishing

3 loaves Arabic bread, cut up (to scoop the Hummos)

How to Make Hummos bi Tahini:

1. Open the can of chick peas.

2. Drain can of the liquid inside.

3. Remove 9 whole chick peas and set aside (for garnishing later).

4. Divide the remaining chick peas into 3 portions and place each portion in a sandwich size zipper-locking plastic bag. Zip each bag closed (make sure there is no air left).

5. Mash the peas in the bag by rolling the empty can over them or using the bottom of the can in a hammer-like fashion gently. You can leave the peels of the peas in the mixture (some people like to remove them before mashing, but it is fine to leave them in). Students can take turns doing the mashing.

6. Open the 3 bags and place the contents of all of them in one big bowl.

7. Add ¼ cup water and mix.

8. Squeeze one lemon (make sure you discard the seeds first). Add the lemon juice to the chick pea mixture.

9. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt (sprinkle it over the mixture).

10. Add 1/4 cup tahini.

11. Mix everything well with the large spoon.

12. Place in a shallow dish or a bowl. It is helpful to use a rubber spatula to scoop the Hummos out of the bowl. Flatten mixture so it is smooth.

13. To garnish, use the reserved chick peas to make a pattern on top of the Hummos—you can place them all in a circle in the middle, or in groups of 3 around the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle paprika on top in a design of your choosing.

14. Serve with small pieces of Arabic bread on the side, either regular or toasted.

15. This recipe will serve 4-6 people as an appetizer. For a class of 25, it will offer one bite (one piece of bread with hummos on top) for each student

Note: Hummos will be a little chunky and not smooth, but the taste is the same as the smooth Hummos with which many people are familiar. At home, one can use a food processor or a blender to purée the mixture until it is very smooth and has a consistency similar to that of mashed potatoes.

Optional: 1) Mix in 1 garlic clove, minced. 2) Drizzle about 1-2 teaspoons olive oil on top before serving. 3) In addition to bread, serve with an assortment of any of the following: black or green olives, pickles, tomato wedges, cucumber slices, carrots, radishes, or scallions.

About Hummos bi Tahini

Hummos bi Tahini is perhaps the most famous dish from the Arab world—at least in the United States. The name is commonly shortened to “Hummos.” It is essentially chickpeas that are puréed with tahini (sesame seed paste), salt, lemon juice, and garlic. (Some people add a little yogurt to make it smooth; others add cumin for a different flavor.) Ubiquitous in restaurants, fast-food stops, and households throughout the Middle East, Hummos is usually served as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to grilled lamb, beef, or chicken. Many people also eat it as a meal in itself. Hummos is typically scooped with bite-size pieces of Arabic bread (pocket bread, sometimes called “pita” in the United States); it can also be made into sandwiches or served as an ingredient in them.

Hummos is the word for chick peas (or garbanzo beans) in Arabic. Although, as a convenience, one often uses cans of chick peas to make Hummos bi Tahini, most Arab cooks use dried chick peas that they soften by boiling after soaking them overnight. Arabs make this dish year round because the dried beans and tahini are easily stored and the other ingredients are readily available. In addition, chick peas are inexpensive and nutritious. Indeed, Hummos is a quick, easy, tasty, and healthy vegetarian dish. Like many other legumes, chick peas are a good source of protein, dietary fiber, and iron and other minerals.

For thousands of years, chick peas have been harvested in the Mediterranean region, including ancient Egypt. They were brought to other parts of the world through trade and exploratory travel. Chick peas are staple ingredients in the cuisines of the Middle East, the Mediterranean basin, India, Pakistan, and many countries in Africa and in South and Central America. North American culture has also embraced the chick pea, which is featured in salad bars, stews, and “health food” recipes.

Arabs typically serve Hummos bi Tahini in shallow bowls or flat dishes and garnish the top with a thin layer of flavorful olive oil as well as sprigs of parsley, whole chick peas, and swirls of paprika. Sides to Hummos include pickled vegetables, such as pickled turnips and cucumbers, and an array of tomatoes, green and black olives, radishes, and scallions. There is always plenty of Arabic bread available for scooping the Hummos either directly from the common bowl or after portions of Hummos are placed into individual dishes.